High Water Apocalypse

We had strung tarps beneath the sweet gums and were living on wild mushrooms and canned food. What with the hurricane rains, the woods were lousy with them. The kids seemed fine with the arrangement, old enough to understand why we’d abandoned the comforts of our thirty-year-old manufactured home, yet still young enough to turn […]

Florence

Although it starts soggy, by mid-afternoon the day turns bright and crisp. The kind of day you can pick out individual leaves on the willow oak across the street. Hurricane Florence was already inhaling humidity from 600 miles away.

I take advantage of the pre-storm calm, washing and hanging the bed sheets and shower […]

Lucky

The orphan, resting comfortably in Shelley’s lap.

When Shelley returned home after two weeks away, she was confronted by a loud and needy cat. Lucy let her know, in strident tones, how much she had missed her and how devastatingly hungry she had been. She went on and on about it, while Shelley busied […]

Disassociating

“It’s not them, it’s us,” Bob said, stepping from the shower on October 20, 2004. “We need to leave.” We had been living on Maui for four years. George W. Bush was up for reelection. 9/11 had happened, the administration had cooked up the whole “weapons of mass destruction” fiasco, and Bush had ordered the […]

Wake-up Call

The day before Mother’s Day, I’m dreaming the usual stuff, probably trying to set a table for twenty with five water glasses, or squeezing underneath a car in the parking garage, or maybe stepping from a floating dock to a boat bound for Belize, when two big thuds that don’t fit into the dream bring […]

Manifesto To My Peeps

I love this place, and all of you. I love lazy mornings in bed with Bob, and I love my job keeping an eye on things at The Plant. I love walking in Tami and Lyle’s woods, and over to your houses for meetings and parties. I love potluck, when we all bring something to […]

The Seven C’s of Community

“C” words continually pop up in conversations about community; they circle my brain when I’m falling asleep, and dance in my mind before dawn. I’m awash in C’s! So, I decided to pick seven (my lucky number) and talk about what they mean to me.

First off, there’s Conflict. I want to believe conflict should […]

The Almighty We – the price of community

I learned at an early age that everything comes with a price. Everything costs something, be it cash or energy. Every bite of food had to be grown and processed, every asset built and maintained. In my world, there is no free lunch and for as far back as I can remember, I’ve done my […]

The Almighty We – Expectations

Community is absolutely necessary to humans, probably fourth in the hierarchy of needs after air, water, and food. But most of us don’t get too tangled up with our neighbors.

For one thing, it’s culturally appropriate in the U.S. to live independently. For another, we haven’t had much experience living together. First there were waves […]

The Almighty We – Proximity

I learned something about community from the dogs in Nicaragua. Thirteen years ago, Bob and I found ourselves managing a vacation lodge on a 3200-acre Caribbean island without police or doctors. We lived in small house inside a large chain link compound. Six dogs served as security guards.

The first time one of the dogs […]